The Panzerkampfwagen VI Tiger was an answer to the unexpectedly formidable Soviet armor encountered in the initial months of the Axis invasion of the Soviet Union, particularly the T-34 and the KV-1. The Tiger I is the first tank mounting the 88mm gun in its initial armored fighting vehicle-dedicated version, which in its Flak version had previously demonstrated its effectiveness against both air and ground targets. During the course of the war the Tiger I saw combat on all German battlefronts. It was usually deployed in independent tank battalions, which proved to be quite formidable. While the Tiger I was feared by many of its opponents, it was over-engineered, used expensive and labor-intensive materials and production methods and was time-consuming to produce. Only 1,347 were built between August 1942 and August 1944.